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The Ten Top Family Films of the Decade You’ll Love

Jane Howarth itcherThe last decade has been pretty great for movies, so to help you choose, I’ve put together this little list of the top family films of the decade, including “How to Train Your Dragon” and “Stardust“. l love them, and I think you will too. ~ Jane Howarth

Are the Good Family Movies of the Decade Just for Kids?

So what should you expect from the good family movies of the decade, are they aimed at kids?Yes and no.

The best ones make great viewing for everyone. Many recent family films have creative, original stories – and who doesn’t love something new? Some are inspired by recent kids’ stories that younger audiences already know, or can follow up after seeing the film.

What’s in it for adults? This one’s simple, we don’t want to miss out!

Other movies reboot the childhood classics of today’s adults.

They’re perfect for today’s kids too, but you know what? Grown-up audiences (cast and crew too) love seeing their favourites brought back to life, by more on that later.


Here They Are, the Top 10 Family Films of the Decade

They feature some of the best talent, and not in a look-how-many-names-we’ve-got way.  Get ready for smart writing, great acting, and cool effects.

10. ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ (Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders, 2010)

Because Vikings are awesome, and dragons aren’t too boring either.

Jay Baruchel and America Ferrera voice Hiccup and Astrid, with Gerard Butler providing some authentic Scottishness to compliment the Hebrides setting.

Ashley Jensen and David Tennant make an appearance too.  You have to be fast to catch ‘em though!

9. ‘The Golden Compass’ (Chris Weitz, 2007)

Based on the Philip Pullman books, The Golden Compass is set between a parallel Oxford and alternate Arctic.

There are some philosophical and theological views going on behind the scenes.

If you want to look into it, go right ahead.

But if you just want to enjoy a film about airships, fuzzy creatures, gruff polar bear warriors and scary Nicole Kidman?

Great!  You’re in the right place.

8. ‘Night at the Museum’ (Shawn Levy, 2006)

Ben Stiller stars as the night watchman of a New York museum where the exhibits come to life at night.

The exhibits come to life, people!

There are a few super-American moments, and if you love the patriotic stuff then you’ll be fine.

If not, don’t worry, you can look out for Dick Van Dyck’s next bit of screen time as the retiring security guard.

7. ‘Stardust’ (Matthew Vaughn, 2007)

A fantasy must-see, Stardust (find some great similar films here) is based on the Neil Gaiman novel.

The script was co-written by Jane Goldman, whose other writing credits famously include Kick-Ass (2010, Matthew Vaughn) and X-Men First Class (2011, Matthew Vaughn) – not too shabby.

Like a lot of Neil Gaiman stories, Stardust is a little dark and weird (which is cool, but not for everyone), but there’s definitely a lot going on.

Pirate ships in the clouds, shooting stars in human form, witches.

You know what?  I think you’ll like it.

6. ‘Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events’ (Brad Silberling, 2004)

A word of warning, Count Olaf is really creepy.  And the unfortunate events you’ve heard about?

They’re truly unfortunate.

Lemony Snicket’s modern gothic family film is based on the first three instalments of a book set by the same name.

That leaves ten more Baudelaire misfortunes to discover in print form.

We’re very concerned.

5. ‘The Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ (Andrew Adamson, 2005)

Ah, all that lovely snow.

They’re taking their time filming the remaining instalments, so why not catch up with the books in the meantime?

Take a peek at my quick guide to the Chronicles of Narnia.

4. ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2’ (David Yates, 2011)

I’m cheating here.  Deathly Hallows is kind of a placeholder for the whole series.

Love it, hate it, think the books were better?

All totally valid, but there’s no denying these movies are versatile viewing for the whole family.  Fun, scary, dark, sweet.

And the effects are dazzling!

3. ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ (Tim Burton, 2005)

The Gene Wilder version has a lot of devoted fans, but you know what?

I never really got it.

It always felt so sinister and it freaked me out that no one else saw it like that.  So thank you, Tim Burton, for making this version.

Original chocolate river boat?  Terrifying.  New boat scene?  Awesome!

New boat scene?  Awesome!

2. ‘The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn’ (Steven Spielberg, 2011)

Belgian author Hergé’s original comics follow Tintin, Le Petit Vingtième, on all kinds of mysterious travels and they’re great source material.

Worried you won’t be amused by a story from the 1940s?

Don’t be.

The screenplay was written by the dream team of Steven Moffat (Sherlock, 2010, Steven Moffatt, Mark Gatiss), Joe Cornish (Attack the Block, 2011, Joe Cornish) and Edgar Wright (The World’s End, 2013, Edgar Wright).

And how cute is Snowy?

1. ‘The Muppets’ (James Bobin, 2011)

Like the Jim Henson era movies, it’s funny, likeable and self-aware.

Jason Segel, Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, 2008, Nicholas Stoller) and Bret McKenzie (Flight of the Conchords, 2007, James Bobin, Bret McKenzie, Jermaine Clement) relived their childhood making the Muppet reboot.

And of course, our favourite puppet friends like Kermit, Rizzo and Miss Piggy helped out too.

Why is Jack Black so fancy?

You’ll just have to watch and find out.  One thing’s certain, you’ll never see Nirvana the same way again.


Over to You!

What are your top family films of the decade?Any I missed?

Let me know!



Hi, I’m Jane, BA (Drama, Film and TV) and MA (Cultural and Creative Industries). When I’m not writing about creative things, I’m designing or planning them. If you’re brave enough to risk an avalanche, look behind the stacks of books and DVDs and you’ll find me balancing a cup of tea, a handful of knitting and a cupcake.
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